Naveen Patnaik rejected Ayushman Bharat scheme fearing defeat: Amit Shah


File Photo: BJP Chief Amit Shah.

File Photo: BJP Chief Amit Shah.

BJP president Amit Shah on Monday slammed the BJD government in Odisha for rejecting the Centre’s newly launched flagship Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme, saying Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik did so fearing defeat in the 2019 polls.

The BJD, however, rejected Shah’s remark and said the state government’s health assurance scheme, Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana, was “much better” than Ayushman Bharat.

The Ayushman Bharat programme would be implemented in Odisha if the BJP is voted to power in the state, Shah said at a meeting of the party’s women’s wing here.

“No one can stop the people of Odisha in availing the benefits of Ayushman Bharat. You cannot stop the BJP from helping the poor. We will implement the Ayushman Bharat programme on the first day if the BJP forms government in the state in the 2019 elections,” he said.

Hitting out at Patnaik for rejecting the health insurance scheme, which was launched on Sunday, Shah said, “Naveen Babu is afraid that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity will grow further if the scheme is launched in the state. The chief minister is worried about his ‘kursi’ (chair) and not for the poor people of Odisha.”

Modi during his visit to Odisha on Saturday, had slammed the state government for not joining the world’s biggest health insurance scheme and said the state’s own such scheme has limitations.

Alleging that Odisha is being governed by officers and not by the people’s representatives, Shah said IAS and IPS officers cannot rule the state.

“Odisha is not being governed through democracy, but by the bureaucracy,” he said.

“I want to tell the officers to stop indulging in sycophancy. This government will not last forever. This government will change very soon and the BJP will form government in Odisha. All corrupt people will have to pay the price for their activities,” said Shah, who inaugurated the national executive meeting of BJP Mahila Morcha here.

The BJP president also alleged that at least 14 party workers have been killed in the state in the last three years by “government-sponsored” goons.

“Naveen Babu, do not try to terrorise the BJP by killing our workers. Our history says that BJP gets stronger when it is attacked,” he said, while claiming that his party is gaining ground in the state with each passing day.

Claiming that the NDA government at the Centre has given Rs 4.45 lakh crore to Odisha, Shah sought to know how it was utilised.

“The funds meant for the poor people have been misappropriated by officers and BJD leaders. Though the Centre has formulated 129 schemes, they did not reach the people in the villages,” he alleged.

Claiming that farmers in Odisha do not get adequate MSP on paddy though the Centre has raised it by Rs 200 per quintal, Shah said, “There is an unholy nexus between the mill owners and the government for which the farmers suffer.”

He alleged that there have been 39 per cent rise in atrocities against women and girls in the state.

“The state government is not concerned over it. Since the party named after Biju Patnaik has not been following the ideology of the legendary leader, it has no right to stay in power,” Shah said.

Highlighting the Modi government’s policies for women, he said it had recently raised the remuneration of ASHA and Anganwadi workers, provided free 5.5 crore cooking gas connections, opened 16 crore Jandhan accounts, gave loan to 13 crore women under the Mudra scheme and constructed 7.5 crore toilets.

Shah called upon the BJP women office-bearers to take message of the prime minister to every household in the state to ensure that the party forms government in Odisha as well as in the Centre in 2019.

He appealed to the people of Odisha to give the party “only” five years to serve them and then “see the changes”.

“You have already given 18 years to Naveen (Patnaik). Give us only five years and see changes in the life of common people in the state,” Shah said.

The BJP chief also slammed opposition parties, including Congress saying they suffered from “Modi phobia” and lacked any agenda for the country’s development.

All partners of the BJP are united and serious about transforming India as the number one country in the world, Shah said.

“I want to tell the people that the Congress and opposition parties are working together for breaking India while Modiji is busy in making India,” he said.

The prime minister is seeking to eradicate poverty, eliminate unemployment and insecurity among people, but the opposition wants his removal as they have no specific agenda, leader or policies, the BJP chief said.

Shah also said that BJP would observe the birth centenary of Vijaya Raje Scindia year-long from October 12 as a tribute to the leader who made significant contribution to uplift women and for the growth of the BJP.

Comparing the 2019 elections with the battle of Panipat, Shah said the poll is going to be a challenge for the BJP but it would be a question of survival for the opposition parties.

Meanwhile, the BJD rejected the charges levelled by Shah as “baseless, false and misleading”.

BJD general secretary Arun Sahu said the state’s ‘Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana’ provides Rs 7 lakh as against Rs 5 lakh by the Centre.

Another BJD general secretary, Sanjay Dasburma, ridiculed Shah’s plea to give one term to BJP in the state, saying that ahead of 2014 elections, the saffron party had promised “achhe din” and contain inflation, but the people have been hit hard by sky-rocketing prices of all commodities.